The Ascension of Christ

Chronologically speaking, grief at the Lord’s departure belongs to the period prior to the Passion; now the disciples’ sorrow is like that of the woman whose time has come, and the Lord consoles them with the thought that his going away is good for them. So you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. This is Easter, and they have seen the Lord again, and the Easter joy is not upset by the Ascension. For it heralds the outpouring of the Holy Spirit….

Anything like a mood of winding up is outshone here by the sense of the momentous transition that is going on, in which the Word flows into something greater, something ultimate. There is an atmosphere of surprised amazement that what seemed the conclusive transfiguration has become yet another new beginning…. There is no end in God, only a new setting forth on the part of what seemed finite and final. The “end” only shows that, right from the start, it was endless, infinite.

– From a sermon on the Ascension by Han Urs van Balthasar. Featured image: Christ in Ascension, Fr. John Giuliani. Father John intends that his work celebrate the soul of the Native American as the original spiritual presence on this continent, thus rendering his images with another dimension of the Christian faith.



One comment

  1. I always feel considerable discomfort from this form of elongation (anti-perspective?). For me it obstructs any other appreciation of a painting. El Greco doesn’t ‘work’ for me, though it might if displayed high on a church wall.

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